The Comfort of Reduced HFI's

    Posted by Mike Bonner

    Nov 22, 2016 9:36:12 AM

    In our post, Why Customer Returns are the Worst for Can Makers, we compared
    various industry return issues – including the automotive industry with its recent spate of recalls – and noted that can makers have an even larger issue with customer rejects because of:

    1. Double Manufacturing Costs04-04.jpeg
      As with any warranty situation, they have to replace the returned cans with new ones.
    2. Customer Product Costs
      They also have to take responsibility for and pay for their customer’s lost product.
    3. Sole Liability
      Unlike automotive manufacturers, who can often go back to the defective part supplier to divvy up the costs, can makers have virtually no ability to share this liability with their supplier base.

    So Why Do We Care About HFI’s?

    At the very bottom of it all, HFI’s are an indication that something is not right with our process – it is not stable and predictable – and that means that we probably don’t have a solid foundation on which to continue and grow our business.

    And that makes us uncomfortable.

    But worse, in our post, Controlling Temperature to Reduce HFI's, we related that HFI’s can have a very negative effect on our business because:

    1. They are expensive
    2. They can cause us to miss critical delivery dates
    3. They may even have to be reported to our customer
    Moreover, they make us worry about:
    1. The lots that we shipped that were released from hold
      We know that they were sorted and “cleansed” of defective ends, but how can we be sure we actually got everything?
    2. The lots that we shipped that weren’t placed on hold
      What made this lot different from the others and how can we be sure we didn’t miss anything that might result in a customer reject?
    3. About the security of our business with our customers
      Are they looking for another supplier?

    Control is the Only Solution

    Relying on inspection after production as a means of determining the quality of your product can only result in HFI’s. And added expense.

    This requires a pro-active approach. As such, it is only through careful process control
    that we can eliminate the variables that create the HFI’s in the first place. But where should we focus our efforts?

    In our post, The One Key Variable to Control to Reduce Liner HFI's, we analyzed this topic and determined:

    “…if you can only focus on one factor to gain control over your liner process, temperature is the one key variable that, when held constant, will produce the greatest impact on liner stability, and therefore the greatest reduction in HFI’s.”

    Why Temperature?

    The reason to focus on controlling temperature is that temperature controls viscosity –
    the one key factor that changes the performance of your system – virtually all other factors are mechanical and determined by wear. As such, these factors can be controlled through the implementation of a well-structured and strictly-disciplined preventative maintenance (PM) program.

    But temperature varies – from morning-to-night, day-to-day and season-to-season. Worse it can be totally unpredictable. It can be warming through the morning, and then suddenly turn colder in the afternoon, as rain showers move in.

    You Can’t Change the Weather

    Trite, but true. You can’t change the weather. But you can change your process to reduce or eliminate these temperature variations. Likewise, this reduces or eliminates the resulting variations in viscosity, which reduces or eliminates the resulting variations in the quality of your output. And as the consistency and quality of your process improves, those HFI’s become fewer and farther between.

    And those calls at 3:00AM stop.

    And that bad news in the morning about holds from the night shift doesn’t come.

    And you stand in front of your customer and tell them that your quality numbers are trending in the right direction – toward zero defects.

    And you stop waking up in the middle of the night.

    And you may even occasionally get in a round of golf.

    And that feels pretty good…

    Download our free case study to see how temperature control improved operational quality and efficiency for this manufacturer.


    Topics: Can / Container

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